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time who adored it in their speech and who were yet doing their utmost to pervert it and to destroy its value. Have the enemies of social justice revived the old diabolical trick of interpreting it to defend oppression, or have the people mastered the divine art of reading it in the light of its sublime intention "to form a more perfect Union and to promote the general welfare?" And what about your Legislatures, State and national? Have they improved with your material progress? Are statutes carefully prepared and wisely considered? Do they enact the laws of God or the will of some powerful interest? Do they conform to immutable principles of political wisdom, or are hirelings and demagogues, misguided incompetents and ambitious leaders, all wearing the livery of freedom, still telling you that you can evade and thwart and even nullify with impunity the principles of righteousness and equity? Have your political leaders eyes, and can they see? Have they brains and can they reason? Or do they darken counsel with a multitude of words? Or shelter themselves in cowardly silence? Have they principles for which they are ready to be assassinated, or have they principles only for platforms or parade or purchase?
Fixing upon us those piercing and melancholy eyes, he would warn us to learn wisdom in the time of our power and our wealth and our opportunity, lest we, too, provoke the righteous judgment of God upon ourselves and our posterity. He would remind us with pathetic solemnity that all the miseries of those terrible years in which he suffered for us came from judicial blindness, from the sacrifice of conscience and truth and freedom of speech, to avarice and ambition and the lust of power; and, lifting his hand to the "Almighty Architect" of his own expanded and transfigured soul, he would call upon us all "to here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
THE LITERARY SIDE OF LINCOLN
DR. BERNARD J. CIGRAND
HEN the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of
Wabraham Lincoln's birth was brought to the attention
of our citizens, the idea of having other than a mere one-day celebration was thought impossible; experience had taught the great dailies that a week's festival would result in failure. Some ventured to suggest that two days, if carefully planned, might meet with hearty response, and others referred to the hundredth anniversary of the inauguration of Washington as a safe guide in the Lincoln memorial occasion-the Washington exercises lasting two days and only then having received impetus from exhibition of tokens and relics of the Revolution. Your presence here attests, after seven days' and nights' celebration, that the editors, too, can be mistaken and fail to accurately judge the public feeling. Hundreds of exercises during these hours have been rendered, and this august assemblage, crowding every available space, standing throughout a long programme, showing no tedium after listening to a lengthy discourse-one long to be remembered for its brilliant and poetic elements-all this demonstrates in a most emphatic manner that the American love of patriotism, and the reverence for her distinguished heroes, has not faltered. No! For this gathering witnesses that our regard for our founders and our esteem for our defenders grows stronger and more sturdy as the years creep on; that we of this day have awakened to a higher appreciation of him who led the citizens on to victory; that we more eagerly attest our love for the great loyalty of the adopted son of the Prairie State-Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln was so great, so noble, so grand, and so peerless a man that no man living, no matter how eloquent may be his tongue-no man living, no matter how gifted with the
pen-no artist, regardless of his dexterity with the brush-no sculptor, notwithstanding the genius of his handicraft-will be able to portray, describe, paint or chisel that life-likeness of Lincoln, which his diverse and varied features and changing countenance evolved. It is not in the power of this generation-it is not within the scope of a now living individual, to give the correct and proper face or figure of this Giant of the West. Some day in the distant future, when we of this day are all gone, a child will be born-perhaps a boy, maybe a girl— who will brush away the prejudices of to-day's history, sweep aside the severe criticisms of the press, cast to the winds the jealousies of geographical sections, and with the unfailing lamp of Truth and the unerring pen of Justice bring from out of this mingled darkness a beautiful, clear, and truly living soul, of which the world in its calm judgment will proclaim, "It is our Lincoln !"
All has not been told of Lincoln. There yet remain some few trifling elements untouched-here and there a fibre of his kindness and a stray thought of his literary evolution is left untold. While Shakespeare and the Bible were the literary treasures of his frugal home, he also possessed a copy of Robert Burns-the poetic singer of nature the "Longfellow of the British Isles"; but the volume which contributed patriotic fervor to the youth Lincoln, a book which, while it may not be the equal of Shakespeare for English, nor of the Bible for philosophy, yet is without equal in the portrayal of our form of liberty and our understanding of government-the "Life of General George Washington." Let me relate how Lincoln came to have this splendid work. A neighboring farmer had this great treasure, and Lincoln who had early read all the books within the meagrely supplied vicinity, gathered courage and asked the privilege of reading this copy. It was a Weems's "Washington." With what eagerness he mastered its pageswith what studiousness he learned the meanings of the difficult words! Our imagination only can supply this picture. It may be of interest to know that hardly had he finished the reading when, by an unforeseen element, the book was practically destroyed. The Lincoln home, as we all know, was a mere
cabin-the naked earth as its floor-with a roof so poorly constructed that both the sunshine and the rain visited the inmates at pleasure. Well, one night when young Abraham was asleep, a terrible rainstorm came on, and its watery elements dripped, drove, and drizzled through the roof and completely soaked the favorite volume, the Weems's "Washington. When Abe arose he beheld what the storm had done, and with a heavy heart and eyes filled with tears he called to see the neighbor to explain how unforeseen and terrible the storm had been. When he came to the farmer he approached him with fear and trembling, but with a candid manner related his sorrow. The farmer could well see that the storm had been severe; he also knew the frailty of the Lincoln cabin, and everywhere were the symbols of storm visitation. "But," said the farmer, "that is not the condition in which I gave you the book and I will not accept it in that ruined and dilapidated form." Immediately the embarrassed lad spoke up, "Well, what can I do to adjust this injury? In what way can I right this wrong, and how am I able to show you I mean to do right?" Abraham stood expectant. The farmer gazed into his tear-filled eyes, and then came the farmer's reply, "That book is worth six bits"-or seventy-five cents— "and if you will come and work for me for five or more days, you can keep the book; it 's of no account to me in that ugly shape." Eagerly and with inspiration the youth spoke up, "Oh! you are so kind! You can have me a week or ten days. I will be very glad to repay you with my labor." The next day at sunrise young Abe stood at the farmer's door. He toiled for him four days from the break of day till darkness stopped his hands eagerly, anxiously, and willingly. He worked, dreaming of his great and unexpected conquest. He would own that "Life of Washington." He could then follow more closely its true purpose. The farmer, seeing with what joyful and happy tenor he prosecuted the task, said, on the fourth night, "You have labored faithfully; you have done the work satisfactorily and you need not come any more. I feel you have fully paid for the 'Washington.'" The terrible storm had left in its wake a treasure, the "Life
of Washington," and with renewed effort the student Lincoln resumed the happy opportunity of getting still closer to the great life of the leader of the colonial patriots.
Another feature in the life of Lincoln which influenced his literary taste and shaped his destiny as a God-fearing citizen was the death of his beloved mother. While he was yet a lad of less than ten, she lay ill at the poorly furnished home -no doctor to minister to her needs, no neighbors to comfort or care for her. One day as the close of her life was approaching, she called the dear son to her side and said, "Abraham, your mother will never rise from this cot. I am going to leave you. I am about to die." Clasping her slender arms about his childish form she continued, "Be kind to your little sister Sarah and take the Bible as your guide through life, and God will watch over your dear soul." The mother died and the stricken boy was beyond comforting. He sobbed, he cried, and in anguish resigned himself to the loss of this tender mother. He and his father went into the deep woods, chopped down a tree, and prepared a rude coffin for her dead form. They alone-without neighbors, without ceremony, and without sympathizing relatives-laid her tenderly in her grave at the foot of a tall sycamore tree. The winds moaned the dirge, the birds sang the requiem, and the heart of the lad felt the solemnity of the sermon of Nature. Oh! he loved his mother dearly; he revered her memory daily; and in sunshine revery, or in midnight dreams he saw that beautiful mother's face. He pined that no sacred hymns were chanted at her grave. He regretted that their poverty forbade even the presence of a minister, and he could not forget that she had deserved so much and received so little. In the height of childish resolution he prepared to have a minister come from some distant part to preach a sermon, or say at least o'er her dead body the "Lord's Prayer."
Finally, after considerable trials and hardship, he managed to induce a clergyman who lived something over a hundred miles away to come and pay this final tribute to the departed mother. New life came to him after this debt of